2020 GMC Canyon

Compare insurance prices:
Save an average of $440
Free Quote

2020 GMC Canyon Review: A Truck For Everyone

by Deiondre van der Merwe

If you're looking for a midsize pickup truck in America, you're likely to be rifling through a list that reads longer than the Declaration of Independence of makes, models, trims, and configurations. The GMC Canyon is a notable candidate in a sea of pickup trucks and offers a wide range of configuration options to suit your needs, whether you're after a workhorse or a daily pickup. A 2.5-liter engine is available with 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque, but we'd recommend steering clear of that lethargy - you'll be better off with the zestful 308-hp 3.6-liter V6 or fuel-efficient turbo-diesel. It's meritable, but trying to beat the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma is about as easy as trying to climb a very large, billion-dollar wall. To this end, the GMC Canyon plies its trade as an upmarket truck, but when sharing bones with the humble Chevrolet Colorado, it might just be charging top dollar for the sake of a badge, diminishing its appeal among the hardcore truck enthusiasts.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 9 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 8 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
What is BuzzScore?

2020 GMC Canyon Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Canyon?

Minor changes accompany the pickup truck in 2020, with GMC simplifying trim levels and configurations and adding some additional options. The long-box model is no longer available in 2WD guise, and you'll have to live without the AWD All Terrain extended-cab. GMC has added a remote tailgate locking option as a standard feature to the SLE trim upwards. Carbon Black Metallic has also been added to the exterior paint options for this year.

Pros and Cons

  • Refined interior
  • Excellent fuel economy from the diesel engine
  • A respectable number of standard infotainment features
  • Wide variety of engine, drivetrain, and transmission choices
  • Stingy suite of safety features
  • Sluggish base 2.5-liter engine
  • Higher trim levels are expensive

What's the Price of the 2020 GMC Canyon?

With so many available configurations, the Canyon has a days-long pricelist to cover all options. However, in their most basic forms, the various trims are relatively affordable. The SL starts at $22,200 as an Extended Cab 2WD model, excluding destination and delivery fees of $1,195. From there, the Canyon derivative is priced from $25,700 and the SLE at $29,100. The Extended Cab in All-Terrain trim requires both the V6 engine and 4WD for a starting fee of $36,600. SLT derivatives require the Crew Cab configuration and the V6 engine and carry a starting fee of $35,900, while the Denali's base price in the same configuration is $40,500. Up-speccing the 2WDmodels from the 2.5L engine to the 3.6L V6 costs around $1,500, while adding 4WD adds a further $3,195 to the overall fee. To upgrade from a short box to a long box on crew cab derivatives sees a further surcharge of $600, while equipping the diesel engine on available trims asks $5,245 and requires 4WD. Fully loaded, a long box Denali with the diesel engine and all the options will set you bacon in excess of $54,000.

Best Deals on 2020 GMC Canyon

2020 GMC Canyon Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
3.6L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
3.6L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
All Terrain - Cloth
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
See All 2020 GMC Canyon Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

One's driving experience with the Canyon is totally dependent on the configuration of the midsize pickup, and with three engines and two transmissions available, as well as 2WD or AWD and extended-length models, it's a mixed bag. The 2.5-liter four-pot provides very little power and visibly struggles to lug the pickup around, so it's best to avoid this one in search of the smooth and refined power that comes from the V6 engine.

The All Terrain by no means an off-road king, but does well on roads less traveled compared to other models due to its off-road suspension and hill descent control. 2021 will bring with it a new AT4 derivative geared towards true off-road prowess, but until such time as it arrives, there are stronger off-road offerings from the likes of Toyota as well as the Jeep Gladiator.

Perhaps one of the pickup truck's strongest points is its handling, especially on higher trims such as the Denali, with the Canyon swallowing up lumps and bumps expertly without a second thought. Highway driving is refined and relaxed, and the steering is surprisingly sharp for its class. Combine this with its compact dimensions and the Canyon isn't tedious on smaller roads and in tight parking spaces.

Verdict: Is the 2020 GMC Canyon A Good Truck?

The GMC Canyon is one of the few midsize pickup trucks in the segment to offer a turbo-diesel engine option, which is a big plus; it aids towing capability greatly, and provides substantially improved fuel economy. But going for this engine will prove to be an expensive exercise, as it's a pricey additional option, and rivals offer comparable gas mileage from their gasoline engines. The Canyon range as a whole is impressive and offers sufficient infotainment at base level, but lacks convenience features on lower trims in comparison to rivals. Another downfall would be its disappointing suite of safety features, even on the Denali trim. A notable merit for the Canyon range would be that it offers a wide variation of configurations including three engines, two transmissions, and 2WD or 4WD, which means that it's unlikely that shoppers won't be able to find a model that's right for them. The GMC also offers great handling and ride quality. There are a host of additional packages to improve certain areas, like the All-Terrain X that improves off-road capability. The Canyon is worthy of considering if you are shopping within the segment, especially if you're prone to some heavy-duty towing and hauling, but as an all-rounder, options from Ford and Toyota are generally a little better.

What GMC Canyon Model Should I Buy?

The Canyon SLT is probably the best value-for-money model of the range, with all things considered. It adds considerable amounts of features and doesn't carry the hefty price tag of the top of the range Denali. This trim level adds plenty of standard features over the lower SLE and we'd recommend taking it in 4WD guise with the 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine option for heavy hauling. If you're prone to go on muddy adventures, the leather-appointed all-terrain model would be an excellent consideration, as it's far better equipped to handle off-road situations thanks to its off-road suspension and other added bits to increase capability.

2020 GMC Canyon Comparisons

Chevrolet Colorado Chevrolet
GMC Sierra 1500 CarBuzz

2020 GMC Canyon vs Chevrolet Colorado

The GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado are relatives under General Motors, so it's not surprising that they share very apparent similarities. The two also share the same engine lineup and boast the same impressive towing abilities, and if you were presented with a features list from either one, it would be indistinguishable as to which pickup it belongs to. Possibly the only difference between the two is that they each have a trim level that the other one doesn't have. The Colorado offers a ZR2 trim level that should rival the All Terrain Canyon, but the two are worlds apart and the ZR2 will outshine the Canyon in any off-road setting. Notably, though, the Denali trim level is more luxurious than any of the trims found in the Colorado range, so which one is better entirely depends on what you're looking for out of a pickup truck. If luxurious interiors are essential to you, the Canyon would be the better choice, but if you're after a rugged off-roader, the Colorado takes the cake.

See Chevrolet Colorado Review

2020 GMC Canyon vs GMC Sierra 1500

Two siblings from the GMC trucks range, the Canyon fills the mid-size void while the Sierra 1500 is the entry-point to the full-size segment. In addition to a massive increase in size and capability, the Sierra is also vastly more expensive. A good couple of thousand dollars cheaper, the Canyon offers better fuel economy but at a price. It's considerably smaller than the Sierra and offers less interior room over its larger relative and offers less safety features, but it does do well with attractive styling and a good interior. The Sierra may appeal to a different shopper than the one looking at the Canyon, thanks to its bigger size and vastly more powerful engine options that include a monstrous 5.3-liter V8. An excellent choice for midsize truck shoppers, the Canyon offers more agility at a much lower price, but is significantly outshined by the Sierra in terms of space and power.

See GMC Sierra 1500 Review
To Top